This month's episode looks at the so-called "comics canon," iconic works from years passed that helped create the comics-as-literature movement and that are now considered sacred. We compare Art Spiegleman's "Maus" to Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan" with an academic review of Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics." In each instance we cast a fresh set of scholarly eyes on works that are often considered untouchable. How well do they hold up, however? How well have they aged? Perhaps most importantly, what is their legacy? Welcome to Comics 101.
It's all Mike Carey all the time this episode with a comparison of Highest House (art by Peter Gross) and My Faith in Frankie (art by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel). We explore the role of religion, faith and deism in comics, the challenges that the medium poses for high fantasy works, and the collaborative nature of the form itself, whilst also taking a slight aside to discuss the possible symbolic meaning of a person getting weed-whacked in the genitals. We will also feature a review of the academic text "Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels," edited by A. David Lewis and Christine Hoff Kraemer.
In this month's episode, the panel looks to the stars, comparing Marvel's "Annihilation" event to DC's "Sinestro Corps War." Along the way, we discuss the artistic challenges of cross-title storytelling, the legacy of Marvel and DC's cosmic universes, and the extent to which all roads lead back to Jack Kirby. We'll also be reviewing Charles Hatfield's "Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby."
This month’s episode sees the panel discussing some speculative fiction that features a pair of strong, young, female protagonists. Topics of discussion include gender politics in genre fiction, the colonial metaphor in SF and Fantasy, and just how easily a male love interest character can be replaced with a cat. Tying things up this month, we’ll have an academic review of Ursula K Le Guin’s classic essay “American SF and the Other.”
In this episode, Anna, Andrew and Michael consume some food-based comics works with a comparative analysis of Lucy Knisley's cuisine-orbiting memoir "Relish" and Ryoko Kui's Dungeons & Dragons & Dining adventure manga, "Delicious in Dungeon." Topics of discussion include synaesthetics, recipes as metatext, and the visual aspect of contemporary food culture. We'll also feature a review of "Manga: An Anthology of Global and Cultural Perspectives" by Toni Johnson-Woods. Bring your appetite.
In this month's episode, Michael, Anna, and Andrew take a look at a pair of comics that recontextualize iconic heroes into the suburban sprawl. Through a comparative reading of Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta's "The Vision" and James Sturm and Guy Davis's "Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules," our panel will address such topics as character consistency, metatextual narratives, and the sexual mechanics of at least one Avenger. Anna will also provide a review of Henry Jenkins' essay "Just Men in Tights: Rewriting Silver Age Comics in an Era of Multiplicity."
In this episode, Anna, Andrew and Michael offer some deep cuts with a look at a pair of long-running, indie comics that have committed cult followings. We're reading Linda Medley's "Castle Waiting," and Carla Speed McNeil's "Finder." We'll consider long-form comics narrative, fantasy world-building, and the nature of the relationship between a loyal reader and the comics that either hurt or comfort them. We'll also review Farah Mendlesohn's academic text "Rhetorics of Fantasy."
In this episode (our first in stereo), Michael, Andrew and Anna will put on some nostalgia goggles and compare Bill Watterson's iconic comic strip, "Calvin and Hobbes", to Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura's "I Kill Giants." Topics will include the manner in which adults write children, the newspaper comic strip tradition, and the trope of the childhood protagonist who withdraws into a world of imagination. We’ll also be conducting a review of "Animal Comics: Multispecies Storyworlds in Graphic Narrative," edited by David Herman. *note: some slight microphone reverb in the cold opening.
In this episode, Anna, Andrew and Michael look at a pair of iconic occult heroes with a comparison of Mike Mignola’s "Hellboy: Wake the Devil" to Garth Ennis’s version of John Constantine in "Hellblazer: Dangerous Habbits." Topics include the antihero, the intersections of horror and the superhero genre and trenchcoats: who wore it better? From the academic side, we’ll also be conducting a review of Scott Bukatman’s “Hellboy’s World: Comics and Monsters on the Margins.”
In this episode, Michael, Anna and Andrew tackle the issue of representation in a pair of teen team books with a look at Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz's "New Mutants: The Demon Bear Saga" alongside Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's openly queer heroes in "Young Avengers: Alternative Culture." We'll discuss topics such as the handling of queer youth, institutional censorship, and avant-garde visual strategies in mainstream superhero comics. We'll also provide a review of Ramzi Fawaz's "The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics." *Note: Episode edited from original cut to remove some ableist language.